If you’re selected to serve on a jury in Cincinnati, you’ll get a notice in the mail from Hamilton County Courts

You can postpone it once, but if you keep putting it off you’re risking jail time and heavy fines.

What’s Ohio’s Penalty for Missing Jury Duty?

According to the Ohio Bar Association, you could face charges for contempt of court, as well as fines and court costs. 

Are There Valid Excuses for Missing Jury Duty?

You can find the date and time for when you’re supposed to report for jury on your summons from the court. 

If you feel that you won’t be able to serve, you need to let the court know as soon as possible. You can do this by calling 513-946-5879 or sending an email to juryresponse@cms.hamiltion-.co.org.

Because jury duty is a public duty, you’ll need to explain to the court why you can’t attend. Excuses accepted by the court for postponing jury service include:

  • Your service would result in a financial hardship
  • You’re a student
  • You’re older than 75
  • You’re an active service member
  • Your service would create a medical hardship for you
  • You’re a caregiver for an elderly person or a child

You’ll need to let the court know at least two business days before your scheduled service. Remember to include your six-digit juror number found on the original jury summons when making your excuse for postponing your jury service.

Even if you have one of these valid excuses, the court will still have to approve your absence. 

How Was I Selected for Jury Service?

A computer randomly selects jurors’ names from a list of registered voters in Hamilton County.

What Type of Jury Will I Serve? 

You’ll serve on either a grand jury or petit jury.

  • Petit jury. If the case you’re assigned to is a criminal trial, the jury will have 12 jurors. If the case is a less-serious nature, there’ll be eight jurors. 
  • Grand jury. Service on a grand jury usually requires you to report twice a month for up to three or four months. Unlike a petit jury, a grand jury decides if a trial is necessary relating to a possible crime, like assault or shooting an intruder.

Just because you’re called for jury service doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll actually serve. 

Attorneys from both sides will have the opportunity to approve and reject potential jurors from the pool of those summoned to report for jury duty. They’ll make their selections by asking you a series of questions to determine your ability to be fair and impartial.

Also, it’s common for cases to be settled shortly before a trial actually begins.

How Long Will I Have to Serve?

You should plan to be on-call for jury duty service for about a week. There may be more than one trial going on during that time or there may be none. 

While it’s not unusual for some trials to be completed within a day or two, complicated trials can last several weeks.

Because lengthy trials are not common, you’ll be notified about your possible length of service before you’re selected. 

Why Is Jury Service Thought to Be So Important?

Our justice system is centered on the thought that a fair and just court settles disagreements through decisions made by fellow citizens. 

Keep in mind that it’s not often for each of us to have to go to court as a plaintiff or a defendant to defend charges made against us. For those that do, though, it’s vital that jurors who are honest and capable decide their cases.

Will I Be Paid for My Jury Service?

Yes, you’ll be paid $19 for each day you’re required to attend. Even if your employer doesn’t pay you for the time for jury service, you cannot be fired because of it. 

What Benefits Come from Jury Service?

It’s not unusual for people to have a bad opinion of jury duty or that it’s even a waste of time. 

However, most who do serve say they enjoyed the experience. You’ll learn more about the legal system and know you contributed to the justice system in a positive way.

The Key Takeaway

Although you may be annoyed at being selected for jury service, you’re fulfilling an important civic responsibility when you report to the court. 

If you’ve received your letter of jury service notification but can’t report for duty, make every effort to inform the court at least two business days before you’re scheduled to appear.